In a private virtual event hosted by Brand Finance, the ‘father of Soft Power’, Professor Joseph Nye held that US soft power would diminish if Trump was re-elected to the Presidency in November. He also predicted that Trump would cry foul over postal ballots.
Trump has not been re-elected and his chances grow slimmer as counting continues in several key states, however, by unduly interfering in the electoral process of the US, Trump has permanently scarred US democracy.
The US was considered to be the ‘leader of the free world’, an idea which was amplified after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The unparalleled military might of America was complemented by its successes in education, technology, arts and every other realm which took mankind forward.
Trust in US democracy was paramount and the electorate trusted the system which seemed to work, democracy, no matter how flawed it was.
The victory of Trump in 2016 was also a fruit of democracy when voters in the US chose a political newcomer over the established “Washington” politicians.
Over a period 4 years, Donald Trump told over 20,000 lies, (that comes around to 50 a day) and regularly termed news outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post as ‘fake news’ simply because they chose to report objectively.
Today, even Fox News, a news outlet considered friendly towards Trump has not been spared by Trump’s propaganda machine.
Before every vote in the US had been counted, Trump, who was still President of the United States tweeted, “STOP THE COUNT!”.
This astonished independent observers worldwide who witnessed a sitting President of the United States asking for the democratic processes of the country to be halted simply because he was losing.
Trump continued with his tirade, tweeting, “ANY VOTE THAT CAME IN AFTER ELECTION DAY WILL NOT BE COUNTED!”.
This prompted Twitter to add a filter to Trump’s tweet which was deemed ‘misleading about an election’, however, the damage was just starting.
Unable to gracefully face defeat, Trump utilised a weapon which had become all too familiar to him during his presidency, lies.
Nazi propaganda expert, Joseph Goebbels held that, “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”.
This strategy seemed to have somehow worked for Trump, whose core fan base believed anything which he spewed out his mouth, regardless of the authenticity of the information.
Even in regards to COVID-19, Trump made several false claims regarding how to fight the novel coronavirus. Drinking bleach could help fight the virus, suggested Trump one fateful day.
Four years of Trump as President has significantly diminished the role of the US as the leader of the free world. With a President so dangerously comical in his outlook and behaviour, many viewed the US with a sense of contempt, maybe even sympathy.
The way Trump has challenged the result of the 2020 presidential election has set a dangerous precedent for all future losers of the Presidential race, especially if they’re situated in the White House while they lose.
Without presenting any evidence regarding the alleged irregularities of the elections, Trump has appealed to his core base to ignore the systems and processes of the United States to preserve his fleeting personal power.
A man who does not respect the votes of the people he wishes to represent cannot be a leader, let alone a president.
Legal battles will ensue over several key states as Trump prepares to hide behind the well oiled legal machine to stay in power but the damage to US democracy has been done.
Supporters of Trump, some of whom believe in the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory which has no evidence claim that Trump is fighting the US establishment who are also paedophiles. While not a shred of admissible evidence has been provided for this baseless claim, a follower of this theory has been elected to the US House of Representatives, further signalling the permanent scars to US democracy.
Facebook removed the group, “Stop the Steal” after members were invited to put “boots on the ground to protect the integrity of the vote”.
In a country with more guns than people, this was an alarming attempt to alter the democratic process of the US but it was countered with timely action by Facebook.
As defeat becomes evident, Trump continues to peddle baseless conspiracy theories while Joe Biden acts like a leader and induces not just calm but hope.
“To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. We are not enemies,” Biden says to the country which is only beginning to heal after Trump’s presidency.
But Biden has a tough job to do. Not only does he have to fulfil all the promises he made to his voters but also establish America’s position as a responsible nation in the Post Trump USA.
Whether Biden will be able to fully reverse the scars Trump has left in the White House and the people of the US remains to be seen although his grace at the helm of victory induces hope for a better world.